Ad of the Day: H&M

Lana Del Rey sings 'Blue Velvet' in the fashion chain's Lynchian music video

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Whatever else you can say about H&M, it doesn't skimp on its celebrity endorsers. Last winter, on the Super Bowl, it went with David Beckham in his underwear—an obvious choice that led to a pretty tedious commercial, but which was undeniably A-list and Super Bowl worthy. Now, to introduce its women's fall fashions for 2012, it's going with an "it" girl of the moment, Lana Del Rey, the 26-year-old who's ostensibly a singer but who is quickly becoming known more for her work as a model and, yes, brand endorser.

Capitalizing on the air of cool mystery surrounding Del Rey, a self-described "gangsta Nancy Sinatra," H&M throws her into an alternate universe—David Lynch's universe, actually, where she sings "Blue Velvet" in a two-minute short film from Swedish director Johan Renck. All the Lynchian elements are there: the shadowy malaise, the motionless women with the beehive hairdos, the unsettling laughter, even the little person—who for some reason doesn't like Del Rey's singing and promptly unplugs her. (Perhaps he's upset that H&M is so directly ripping Lynch off.) It's all really nicely shot and suitably weird, in the way that so many high-concept fashion films are weird, without veering into real absurdity, à la Harmony Korine. It's great timing for H&M, which may well have Del Rey at the peak of her powers.

The "Video Games" singer recently signed up to endorse Jaguar, and has a new Mulberry handbag named for her. Now, with her face on H&M billboards everywhere, she's quickly turning from gangsta to businesswoman. That might not be too surprising, given that she's already dismissed her true rebel phase—she was a heavy drinker as a young teenager—as "the worst thing that ever happened to me." Stage name and quirky videos aside, it turns out Lizzie Grant of Lake Placid, N.Y., just wants to sell you stuff.


Client: H&M

Director: Johan Renck

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.